Brandy Parker’s Transformative Experience with #52FilmsByWomen
Still from GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014)
Late Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend, we hit our goal of 10,000 pledges to watch #52FilmsByWomen, one each week for a year. This is meaningful. When we started this project, we had taken note of how few cinephiles and industry professionals could name more than a handful of female directors. But when our pledgers tweet, post, and blog with hashtag #52FilmsByWomen, more often than not they name a woman writer or director. The hashtag has appeared in over 30,000 tweets and posts across platforms. This means name exposure, which turns into name recognition. This means we can turn brilliant and once-obscure filmmakers into household names.
It’s exciting to learn about different pledgers and the experiences they have with #52FilmsByWomen. Brandy Parker holds weekly movie nights with friends in her Chicago home. One of the films that generated the most discussion in her group was Ana Lily Amirpour’s GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. “I’d never seen anything like it before, and at the same time it seemed like a very familiar type of movie.”
Brandy told us that, for a long time, she has enjoyed guessing whether or not a film is written by a woman. She is almost always right. There is some intangible strategy to winning this guessing game, but it has to do with the characters and the way they talk. One example she gave was female characters who outright reject men they’ve just met with scalding burns: usually written by men.
Given her expert guessing which films are by women, and a long time commitment to feminism and content by women, Brandy didn’t expect #52FilmsByWomen to be groundbreaking for her, but it was. She tries to stay up to date about films by women coming out because she loves them so much. “You never see these stories. So many of these movies that I’m watching… they’re just perspectives that you never see.” She mentions Ava DuVernay’s MIDDLE OF NOWHERE: “I’ve never seen a movie that’s about a woman trying to make it work with her husband in prison. That’s ridiculous.”
If you haven’t made the #52FilmsByWomen pledge it’s not too late. All you have to do is go to the page, sign up, and watch a film each week. We’ve provided plenty of lists of films to help you get started. This challenge could change your life.